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Kenya Fellow

Waithera Nganga

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African Food Fellowship partners with AGRA in food systems dialogues

The African Food Fellowship has partnered with AGRA’s Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA) to organise a pre-summit dialogue on the role of collaborative food systems leadership in tackling sector implementation challenges. The session will take place virtually on Monday 6, September 2021, a day before the official start of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2021 Summit which will run from September 7th to 10th.

The pre-summit event will bring together food systems experts and leaders including Permanent Secretaries as the chief technical experts from government, as well as key representatives from the private sector and civil society to discuss innovative ways of dealing with challenges that hinder progress in achieving national agriculture priorities. They will also highlight the importance of honing collaborative leadership skills, and the potential of institutions such as the Fellowship and CALA to support leaders to deliver on sector priorities.

Representing the Fellowship at the dialogue will be African Food Fellowship Director Joost Guijt, the dean of students Eunice Khaguli and Horticulture Fellow Waithera Ng’ang’a. Also in attendance will be Brenda Shenute Namugumya, who works as an Advisor Facilitating Stakeholder Partnerships in food and nutrition security at Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation (WCDI). They will be speaking in a session on how to inspire new forms of leadership in agri-food systems that can accelerate systems-level change across Africa.

“Every year the AGRF is one of Africa’s leading events to decide on food systems priorities and how to implement them across the continent. We’re grateful that this year it includes the topic of ‘what kind of leadership is needed’ to make this happen, which we will be digging into together with CALA,” said Joost.

On her part, Eunice lauded the roles played by the Africans in revolutionizing food systems across the continent for the benefit of people and the environment. “The African Food Fellowship is a literal recognition that food systems leadership exists in Africa and a zealous call for collective action to foster partnerships, innovation and resources to shift African food systems towards more regenerative and inclusive outcomes,” she said.

Waithera, who is one of the 27 Kenyans in the inaugural Food Systems Leadership Programme, highlighted the importance of inclusivity and sustainability in establishing innovative food systems that serve the needs of all stakeholders. “Soil is the source of life. How we connect with it through our food systems, must be inclusive, innovative and sustainable. We need food systems that are productive,progressive and profitable,for all,involved in feeding our people,” she said.

Brenda called for inclusion of young people in conversations about food systems on the continent. “Capacitate the youth for food system leadership in Africa. Investing in system transformation without lifting the young generation is major setback to achieving sustainable and equitable outcomes,” she said. This African Food Fellowship-CALA partnership comes at a time when the Fellowship is expanding its footprint into Rwanda, with an ongoing call out for applications for active food systems leaders working in Rwanda. The Fellowship intends to be present across the continent by 2032.